South Africa can learn much from Cuba which has made strides in development, says Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Buti Manamela.

"I like the development experience of Cuba which was led by Fidel Castro, since they demonstrate resilience against severe economic hardships," he said at an international knowledge-sharing workshop on planning, monitoring and evaluation here Wednesday.

He noted that the Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other global development indicators showed that Cuba is among the best in the world in key social development indicators. Cuba's adult literacy is at 99.8 per cent while life expectancy at birth is 80 years. The infant mortality rate is 5.0 per 1,000 live births and the HIV prevalence is 0.2 per cent.

"I believe that one of the possible reasons behind this massive achievement is the revolutionary attitude of the Cuban people and their leadership, which did not postpone development of the poor, but developed practical programmes that made Cuba a net exporter of doctors to poverty-stricken areas around the world, including to South Africa," said Manamela.

"There is indeed something that we can learn from this comparative developing country as African governments in relation to national development that makes a difference."

He said there were also other success stories which countries attending the workshop, including Benin, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Uganda and Zimbabwe, could share with South Africa.

The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) hosts the workshop on an annual basis to meet the need for knowledge-sharing, learning and mutual engagement between the department and its counterparts from other African countries and globally on topics of common interest.


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